Expert advice on writing a top resume

Gary Burnison, CEO of Korn Ferry and author of “Lose the Resume, Land the Job” has shared advice on how to impress with your CV. In a nutshell: the best resume works with simplicity and personal connections.

Gary Burnison is in a position where he receives resumes from potential candidates on a daily basis. After years of hiring people and talking to other executives, his belief is that resumes only account for ten per cent of the hiring decision.

Nevertheless, a good resume is what makes a candidate stand out and his tips are:

  1. Make it easy to read
    A resume shouldn’t be longer than two pages! Leave enough white space and have everything nicely organised: Company names in bold, titles italicised and job details arranged in bullet points.
  2. Check on typos and use an easy to read font
  3. Tell a story and be truthful about it
    Make sure there are no information gaps (i.e. a missing summer). Use a “staircase pattern” that shows your career growth. The chronological list of work history – in order of date, with the most recent position at the top – has to show a clear progression of more senior roles and more advanced responsibilities.
  4. List accomplishments, rather than just responsibilities
    It’s always better to highlight your responsibilities by detailing your most impressive accomplishments, Burnison writes and gives as examples: Instead of “expanded operations to international markets”, say “expanded operations to eight new countries in Latin America”. Instead of “led marketing and sales team”, say “supervised marketing and sales team and achieved 15 per cent annual growth vs. 0.5 per cent budget”.
  5. Link to your LinkedIn page and professional website, which should include a portfolio of your work.
  6. Avoid cliché claims
    Don’t write you’re “creative”, “hard-working”, “results-driven”, an “excellent communicator” or a “team player”. “Including any of these cliché terms will make your hiring manager roll their eyes in less than a second,” Burnison claims. His advice is: “Skip the cheesy adjectives and overused terms and go for action verbs instead.” Instead of “excellent communicator”, you could write: “presented at face-to-face client meetings and spoke at college recruiting events”. Instead of “highly creative”, you could write “designed and implemented new global application monitoring platform”.
  7. Create a recommendation or connection
    “Not everyone will have a connection at their dream company, but knowing someone who can refer you is the most effective way to get an employer’s attention,” Burnison says. ”You should always go out of your way to get a warm introduction. If you don’t have a connection, do some research and find a friend of a friend who knows someone who has an ‘in’.” After that arrange a coffee date and establish the valuable contact that can recommend your resume.  




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